Almost Fearless

Watching TV/Movies Overseas: Day 26 of 30w30d

This post is part of 30 Ways in 30 days to Redesign Your Life and Travel the World. This series seeks to give you the practical, real world steps you need to take to get from wherever you are, to exactly where you want to be– traveling the world and living the lifestyle you want.

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30 ways in 30 days, television, copyrights, media, travel

I like The Office.  Or The Daily Show.  Or the BBC’s The IT Crowd.  Sometimes when I’m tired and I’ll go back to the hostel, curl up with my laptop and just veg out.  Now before you get all travel self righteous on me, let me tell you a little secret.  I don’t care.  I haven’t owned a TV in years.  I read at least 3 books a week.  When I travel, I’m out and about most of the day, very far away from a TV or any other kind of passive entertainment.  But if I want to watch a little good old fashion tee vee, I’m going to do it.  Oh and you can too.

(Disclaimer: this post is for information purposes only. I’m not suggesting anyone break any copyright laws or download anything illegally.)

Assumption:  you have a laptop and an internet connection.

Direct Downloads

Depending on the site, you may be blocked from accessing programing because of your location if it’s outside the US.  How do they know where you are?  When you connect to the internet you are assigned an IP address, which is  just a series of numbers.  These numbers are issued by location so it’s easy for a website programmer to write code to block people from certain countries.

How to get around blocked sites

You need to hide your location and make it look like you’re in the US.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a VPN, which connects you to a third party server and they connect to your destination website, making it look like you’re coming from where ever that server is, not your actual location.  There are sites that do this for free.  Hotspot Shield is a good example.  But, websites like hulu.com have gotten smart to this and have blocked people with IPs from Hotspot shield too.  Other methods are TOR, which is a free download or Hidemynet.com which costs $5 per month.  Since the technology changes so often, an easy search online can tell you the latest methods.  “How to watch hulu overseas” should give you lots of results.  (Tip: look at the date of the post, then read the latest comments.  What worked six months ago might not work now.)

Indirect streaming

People are constantly uploading the latest episodes to sites like Youtube.com but these days they tend to get pulled fast than you can  even watch them.  Project Free TV and Sidereel are two sites that collect the uploads from various sites and just post the links.  You can find everything from movies to HBO series to last night’s Glee.

Torrent Download

So far we’ve talked about streaming, which means that it downloads as you watch, so you shouldn’t have a significant wait to start watching.  If your internet is very slow, or you want to watch it later offline (like on a plane or bus) then downloading the full program first as a torrent is the way to go.  The way torrents work is that many people have a copy of the file and you download a little from each person.  There is software that handles this: vuze.com.  To find the torrent file, sites like thepiratebay.com, demonoid.com and limewire.com have lots of listings.

Pay and watch

Netflix, iTunes and Amazon offer video on-demand services.  This means you can buy an episode or a movie and download it to watch immediately.

Go local

You can always get copies of movies locally, where ever you are.  They are often cam versions of movies with subtitles.  Oh and expect a 6 month to 1 year delay from US release to availability.

Now you tell: what methods work for you to watch tv/movies online overseas?

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”

THERE ARE RARELY HAMMOCKS.

http://christinegilbert.com

23 comments

  • All right — I’ll admit it. Not more than thirty seconds before reading your post I sent the kids to bed after watching an episode of “Sponge Bob Squarepants” with them on iTunes from the cottage in Scotland. Brenna and I watched the final episodes of “Breaking Bad” in Germany — also iTunes.

    Thanks for the do-arounds for Hulu, I’m going to check them out.
    .-= Bob Redpath´s last blog ..Where We’ve Been, And Where We’re Going – Part 1 =-.

  • Oh! Thank you so much for this. I’ve been missing my regular line up of shows like crazy while abroad. I wonder why I didn’t think of this before! It’s marvelous : )

  • Torrents. Duh. Nothing better. I download EVERYTHING!
    I use Utorrent as the application though. And then search for whatever I want on PirateBay….even though they are in plenty of trouble and won’t be around for long. Oh well, others will.

  • I’m a fan of iTunes myself because of being able to download episodes straight to my iPhone – it’s quite brilliant. But I’m still trying to watch less TV so I don’t feel like I have to keep up with them when I begin vagabonding. 🙂
    .-= David Turnbull´s last blog ..How To Be Effective =-.

  • I snuck into my tent one night in the middle of the Serengeti to watch an episode of entourage on my iphone….if you’re traveling longterm taking those time-outs are great ways to relax and re-energize. I think Dowloading Vuze can work well – just check the comments to confirm they work first.

  • Greetings,

    This is a timely post. I was accessing hulu.com from a private a VPN service and Hulu just blocked those IP addresses last week.

    I was using witopia.net. I bought the cheaper service ($40 per year) and it worked on and off for a few weeks, but Hulu managed to completely shut it down now. They had a 30 day money back guarantee, which they honored.

    Customer service said that the more expensive ($70 per year) service would be better for my needs but I haven’t tried it yet.

    Witopia.net seems to be a stand up company if you willing to shell out for the most expensive service. And if it doesn’t work, you have 30 days to try it out.
    .-= John Bardos – JetSetCitizen´s last blog ..We Live in Amazing Times! =-.

  • Yesterday, I used Hotspotshield to successfully watch two streaming movies on a US based Netflix account. I am in Australia. Then I went out for a while and the Hotspotshield disconnected and I reconnected it and tried to watch another movie and no matter what I tried (rebooting, deleting cookies, blocking cookies) I can’t get a movie to stream anymore. I am getting the message about only USA IPs are allowed. I thought Hotspotshield makes your IP look like it is in the USA. Anyway around this?

  • One of the best TV-only torrent sites out there is http://eztv.it. They have just about anything and everything listed hours after its original air time. There is also a large archive of canceled or ended shows, but the links are not always up-to-date in these cases. There are also new streaming links for many shows but I have yet to try these out.

    Regarding local “pirated” copies of DVDs and TV sold on the streets in many countries…these are usually “burned” copies of torrent downloads which means they can be available very very soon after a movie has been released on the big screen (“cam” versions) or on DVD (higher quality releases).

    Also, I believe Netflix is a subscription-only service, not a pay-per-download like Amazon or iTunes.

    Great summary article and simple enough for most non-nerds to understand!
    .-= Brendon´s last blog ..a weekday getaway: Tunja =-.

  • Tom-

    First, I’d suggest you check to make sure your IP is actually being cloaked. Start up hotspot shield, then go to this site: http://www.ip-adress.com/ It will tell you the IP and more importantly the location of your computer. If it’s saying a US location and you still can’t use Hulu, it may be that Hulu is blocking hotspot shield’s specific range of IP numbers. (They block, hotspot shield changes, hulu blocks again and so on).

    There are alternatives. Here is a list of 10: http://www.how-to-hide-ip.info/2009/06/28/10-hotspot-shield-alternatives-to-access-hulu-from-outside-us/

    I haven’t used any of these, but that should get you started.

    Good luck.

  • It’s funny… I always felt a tad silly watching TV in a hostel but hey, you can’t be out and about ALL day and night. I did spend an entire day in a hostel in Antigua, Guatemala watching movies… ALL day. I had been in a car accident the day before and my knee was throbbing like a madman, so I decided to sit on a beanbag from breakfast to bedtime watching movies… people came and went all day, some joining me for a movie and some just breezing by. I did get some eyes like, “what the hell are you doing all the way here in Guatemala having a movie marathon.” Oh well.. great post!

  • Hi everyone,
    One of the things I like to do is to pop into any local movie theater and ask if they’re showing movies in English. Usually there’s one theater in most foreign cities that’s playing one English film, especially the major blockbusters. It’s a great chance not only to get a few hours of relaxation, but as a way to meet fellow travelers. There are also many films that are subtitled, and not dubbed, making them accessible to English travelers. Rather than tugging my laptop to a foreign city (especially if you’re backpacking), this is a great way to spend a night relaxing and taking a break from the sights!
    Happy Travels,
    Lia

  • Great advice! I never thought to use my computer for television overseas. A while back, I cut off my cable at home just because the service provider (Charter Communications) was HORRIBLE! It wasn’t long before I found out that you could watch full length videos on the internet. I’ve also tried using YouTube for more obscure programs. The only downside is that the picture quality isn’t that great and you sometimes have to watch a larger episode in parts.
    .-= Lindsey Stetson´s last blog ..No Africa?! =-.

  • Thanks Christine, I tried that and the IP was in White Plains, USA. However Netflix still wouldn’t let me stream movies and gave me the “no outside USA” message. They must have done the same as Hulu and block anonymous IPs or something. Anyway, I cancelled my Netflix account before it got recharged to my credit card. I’m finding some interesting tv shows on Project Free Tv to keep me busy. Cheers!

  • One of my big things lately is to get Dollhouse more viewers to keep the ratings up, and a major part of that is Hulu. Unfortunately, a lot of readers I have are outside the US, and they can’t watch Hulu. This is incredibly useful information to help promote our cause, as a lot of the people I know want to watch the series but can’t due to domestic limitations.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Do Your Part to Save Dollhouse =-.

  • One device I didn’t see mentioned is a SlingBox. The Slingbox is a TV streaming device that enables users to remotely view their home’s cable from a computer with a broadband Internet connection. In other words, you can purchase a Slingbox and set it up with a friend or family’s cable box (no extra cost to them) and you can watch whatever is showing locally. We have a Slingbox at my parent’s house in Cincinnati so we don’t miss local sporting events. i.e. Bengals and University of Cincinnati football games. It’s a good way to feel connected to family and friends in Cincinnati while we are thousands of miles away in Croatia.
    .-= Pond Jumpers: Croatia´s last blog ..Exploration and Relaxation on Hvar =-.

  • There is no shame in taking a day or two or even a week out to completely veg. Long term travel doesn’t mean one is required to be a traveler every day of the week. Sometimes you just need a vacation from traveling. Don’t feel bad for it!

    I exclusively use sidereel for TV shows. Any movies I want, I just download from a torrents site. Works well for me to get my TV fix. I used to use HotSpot Shield, but it started getting weird with Hulu and also make my internet super slow so I gave up.

  • For better or worse, I got into downloading torrents while living in Colombia. I got so use to it, when I returned home to the US and downloaded an HBO series (season1), an email soon arrived to my parent’s as a “cease and desist” from HBO. Thankfully, Cox Cable doesn’t pull your account right away, but they start you off with a warning.

    Now, I am trying to do just as Gary Vaynerchuk said yesterday when asked, reduce my media consumption to ZERO. Frankly, I’ve watched enough TV to last me 5 lifetimes, and not feeling beholden to it is one of my favorite aspects of traveling.

    Turns out 1.5 years is enough time for me to break a lifelong habit. But it’s not easy here in the US. I need to leave again if for no other reason than to avoid TV watching!
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Friday Flashback – Sikkim Adventures =-.

  • Great post! I can relate… though not much of a TV-junkie at home, sometimes when I’m abroad – whether its because I’m too exhausted to read or just plain homesick – I need a good TV show before bed.

    Vuze and Hulu do work great, as does iTunes.

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